Venture Report: OnLive Closes Large Series C

Twitter is not the only company drawing massive investor speculation.   Gaming startup OnLive announced Tuesday (9/29) that investors including Warner Brothers, Autodesk and AT&T Media Holdings had all jumped in to fund a substantial Series C financing.

Details weren’t disclosed but CEO Steve Perlman said on the company’s blog that the round was the company’s largest to date.  It was "much larger than our previous rounds and gives us a serious jolt of rocket fuel as our beta progresses," he wrote.

Some speculation in the market is that the valuation may have been in excess of $500m. (via Venture Beat) No telling if that’s accurate.

OnLive is looking to deliver a “cloud computing” competitor to the traditional game console environment.    More than seven years in the making, the company is currently beta testing its offering and looking to build out server farms necessary for their eventual commercial launch.

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Venture Capital’s New Recruits: Volpi and Andreessen Join the VC Ranks

The printers are probably still warm from running off copies of last week’s announcement he was stepping down as the CEO of Joost, but former Cisco star Mike Volpi is wasting no time updating his resume.  Not a week removed and he’s already on to his next venture, literally.

Index Ventures (which is an investor in Joost) announced Monday that Mike will join their London office as a venture partner. 

While a new entrant to the VC world, Volpi is anything but inexperienced when it comes to evaluating companies.  The former Cisco Chief Strategy Officer oversaw a business development team that acquired more than 75 companies during his thirteen year stint at the networking equipment maker.

At Index, Volpi will focus on familiar territory: Telecom and Networking startups.  He’ll also try his hand at picking future stars from the Media and Internet sectors.

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Venture Roundup: Facebook and OpenX Return to the Well

Confirming rumors that first began to circulate late last week, Facebook announced this morning that it secured a substantial new private equity investment from Russian based investor, Digital Sky Technologies (DST). (release)

DST, whose portfolio companies are estimated to account for more than 70% of all Russian language page views on the Internet, will buy preferred stock equal to a 1.96% stake in the company for $200m.   No details have been disclosed regarding the rights associated with the preferred class. 

The transaction sets Facebook’s valuation at about $10b.

In a teleconference, Facebook characterized the incoming capital as a cushion and not a necessity.  The new money, Facebook suggested, will offer added flexibility. Whether true, or a bit of spin, it is certain Click to Read More

iPhone Gamer NGMOCO Closes Series B

ngmocoCombine a large market opportunity, an inexpensive distribution platform, good margins and relatively low development costs and chances are you’ve got a recipe that will get investors interested. For ngmoco, it’s cooked up $10m in fresh cash.

The iPhone game publisher whose name stands for “Next Generation Mobile Company” just closed a $10m Series B financing led by Norwest Venture Partners. Prior investors Kleiner Perkins and Maples Investments also participated.

The money is earmarked for expansion and according to Ngmoco’s founder, ex-Electronic Arts executive Neil Young, the opportunity the company is chasing is huge.

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Bridge financing for Slacker

slacker bridgeAccording to a regulatory filing cited on Venture Wire, Slacker, a multi-channel digital music service, has taken an additional $5m in venture funding in a bridge financing from existing investors.

Since opening its doors and publicly launching its product in March of 2007, Slacker has now taken on a cumulative total of more than $58.5m in financing to build out its ambitious plans.

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Billionaire Bailout: Inside the Times Co.’s New $250m Loan

times carlos slim loanThe Tribune Co. got into trouble, ultimately seeking protection through bankruptcy, because it wasn’t able to sell off assets fast enough, or at high enough prices, to service debt. The New York Times, though carrying a far more management debt load, wasn’t going to risk making similar mistakes.

The venerable media company, which has struggled along with its industry,  agreed this week to borrow $250m from Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim Helú (bio).

Upwards of 90 percent of the Times Co.’s revenue comes from its news media businesses. The relative lack of diversification, and simultaneous dependence on advertising in the currently weak market, has squeezed operating profits heavily. Click to Read More

Touching the Interface: Microsoft and others Back N-Trig

touch interfaceA year ago, Bill Gates took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show to deliver his final keynote address.  As always, he talked about Microsoft’s achievements and he spoke of his vision for the future. One of the touch-points emphasized was changes to user interfaces on the horizon.  Building on the “Surface” initiative Microsoft launched months earlier, Gates said we were overdue for evolution in computer controls.  In the future, he said, we’ll migrate away from solitary dependence on keyboards and mice.  Whether in kitchen electronics (talked about a year ago and now becoming available), or traditional computing environments, touch, voice and more “natural” interfaces, he predicted, would become more common; not replacements, per say, but alternate choices suited for some applications.  The increasing ubiquity of computing – whether through the “cloud” or converging devices – would pave the way.

2008 rolled forward with steps taken in that direction.  Touch enabled cell phones crossed unquestionably to the mainstream. The Wii, in gaming, continued to dominate competition thanks to its inventive motion controls.  Multiple touch and gesture controls appeared around the computing industries.   The table, it seemed, was being set.

Starting off 2009, Microsoft is making another push in the direction of Gates’ vision.  At the Consumer Electronics Show this past week, the company demonstrated an early version of the next Windows O.S. (Windows 7). In the trade show booth, as seen in the video footage at the end of this article (also available here), the touch controls were featured prominently.  Today, adding to that, the company confirmed more investment into the space.

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